Phife Dawg, the co-founder of A Tribe Called Quest, passed away at the age of 45 on Wednesday.
Born Malik Taylor, the Queens, New York native formed the group with Q-Tip back in 1988. Just two years later Phife was diagnosed with diabetes and recieved a kidney transplant in 2008. Although the cause of his death has not yet been determined, reports speculate that Phife had succumed to his longstanding health issues.
Shortly after his death was confirmed by Statik Selekta, hip-hop artists and musicians expressed their condolences on social media.
Damn RIP 2 the legend Phife Dawg . My prayers go out to ATCQ & family...— BADMON (@joeyBADASS) March 23, 2016
Refuse to believe this.— Just Blaze (@JustBlaze) March 23, 2016
Phife!— FLYLO (@flyinglotus) March 23, 2016
Say it ain't so .. #Phife— DJ Green Lantern (@DJGREENLANTERN) March 23, 2016
REST IN PEACE TO THE INCREDIBLE PHIFE DAWG— el-p (@therealelp) March 23, 2016
"Trini gladiator /anti hesitator /Shaheed push the fader / from here to Grenada" #RIPPhife ...— Estelle (@EstelleDarlings) March 23, 2016
a tribe called quest is the greatest rap group of all time. and i would have never thought i had a place in rap if not for them #RIPPhife— Open Mike Eagle (@Mike_Eagle) March 23, 2016
Rest In Beats PHIFE ATCQ Forever pic.twitter.com/jwYNU6YLJ8— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) March 23, 2016
Phife forever 1970-2016. 1991 in Sept I went to visit Tariq at Millersville U in the middle of PA (Lancaster). Miles Davis had just passed & I went on a binge to study his post jazz works. Went to Sound Of Market to purchase Nefertiti, In A Silent Way & Live Evil---the only non jazz purchase I made that day ironically was the most jazziest album in that collection: #TheLowEndTheory by @ATCQ. ---it was raining that day so somehow the 1...2 punch of "Nefertiti"/"Fall" just had me in a trance that train trip---even though I suspected there was a possibility that Tribe could possibly have made a better album then their debut (the perfect @@@@@ mic Source rating would be on stands in a week so I was right)---but I knew I wanted to save that listening for when I got up to the campus w Riq.---so some 90mins later when I get to his dorm--we ripped that bad boy open (I can't describe the frustration that was CD packaging in 1991, just imagine the anger that environmentalists feel when all that paper packaging in Beats headphone gets wasted---it's like that)---the sign of a true classic is when a life memory is burnt in your head because of the first time you hear a song. ---Riq & I had this moment a few times, but the look on our faces when we 1st heard "Buggin Out" was prolly Me & Tariq's greatest "rewind selector!" moment in our friendship. (Back then every MC's goal was to have that "rewind!!!" moment. As in to say something so incredible. Or to catch you by surprise that it makes you go "DAAAAAYUM!!!"& you listen over & over---Malik "Phife" Taylor's verse was such a gauntlet/flag planting moment in hip hop. Every hip hop head was just...stunned HE. CAME. FOR. BLOOD & was taking NO prisoners on this album (or ever again) we just kept looking at the speaker on some disbelief old timey radio Suspense episode. & also at each other "Phife is KILLIN!"--by the time we got to "Scenario" I swear to god THAT was the moment I knew I wanted to make THIS type of music when I grew up--(yeah yeah dad I know: "go to Juilliard or Curtis to make a nice living at "real music") but he didn't know that Phife & his crew already wrote my destiny. I ain't look back since. THANK YOU PHIFE!
Celebrities outside of the music industry also expressed their condolences online, proving the wide range of influence Phife's work had on his fans.
Huge loss today. A legend. A NY hip-hop originator. #RIPPhifeDawg Sending love to his close friends and fam. Today we are all in the Tribe.— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) March 23, 2016
A pioneer of hip hop has left us. Rest in peace, Phife— Elijah Wood (@elijahwood) March 23, 2016
A-yo, Bo knows this and Bo knows that,— Touré (@Toure) March 23, 2016
But Bo don’t know jack, cause Bo can’t rap. #ripphifedawg
I can't think of anybody #young or #old who doesn't love #ATribeCalledQuest Their raps were #conscious #witty and #fun They gave us #HipHop without #violence and actually rapped about being NICE to girls which is a BIG deal when you think you think about how #rap has evolved and further influences the current state of #popular music. Today I learned one of the founding members of A #TribeCalledQuest has passed on. At first I was #sad but then I thought about all the #joy he brought to #music and how much joy he brought to the group's quirky music videos. Even my #grandma liked #PhifeDawg and used to talk about how she "left her wallet in El Segundo" whenever she thought of the Tribe #song of the same name. Rest in Peace, Phife. You were a #gentleman and a #legend #YouOnPointTip #AllTheTimePhife
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